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One person versus a starship?


lendrick
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So, I'm running a space-based campaign in Hero 6, and I'm trying to build a starship (think maybe Serenity-sized) for my group to travel in. It seems to me like, according to the rules, it would be possible for one person doing 6d6 with a phasor rifle to take it down in combat (whereas honestly it ought to be able to just shrug that off). How is this sort of thing generally addressed?

 

* Is there a rule that separates massive scale combat from normal combat?

* Do you inflate the numbers on the ship to make up for this (for instance, having enough PD and ED that normal hand-held weapons can't damage it)? This option worries me, because I don't want to be rolling 20+ dice when ships shoot at each other.

* Just say "sorry, your weapons can't damage it"?

 

Peace,

Bart

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Re: One person versus a starship?

 

6d6 Killing is very destructive. That is definitely not a small arms type weapon in general usage.

 

If you're running a campaign setting where people can carry around the equivalent of howitzers in a rifle form factor more power to you and thats cool if its fun for you and your group, but it is going to have ramifications such as you have noticed wherein things that are supposed to be tough just arent.

 

This might lead you to upscale the defenses of various things so they can survive such lethal weapons.

 

Of course, once you inflate everything all you've really done is get back to status quo and might as well not have bothered with the arms / defense escalation in the first place and stuck with rifles that do 2d6 to 3d6 or so.

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Re: One person versus a starship?

 

Ships do not take STUN.

 

Ships Defense characteristic is the same as the ARMOR power: It is fully resistant. All vehicles begin with a base DEFENSE of 2 and go up from there. Your average bargin basement spaceship (not even built for combat) should have a bare minimum DEFENSE of 10. Under normal circumstances, a 6D6 Normal damage rifle will do no damage to it unless maximum damage is acheived (on an 11 it can do 1 Body damage, on a 12 it can do 2 Body damage). A good guideline as to whether or not a weapon can take down a vehicle in a reasonable amount of time is to compare the weapons base Damage Class versus the vehicles Defense characteristic. If the Damage Class of the weapon does not exceed the vehicles Defense, rule that the weapon cannot damage the vehicle without some kind of stunt or unusual circumstances. Military grade vehicles should have Defense ratings between 15 and 25, possibly even hardened. More than that makes combat between starships take a long time, unless you increase the damage class of the weapons they employ to compete.

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Re: One person versus a starship?

 

Objects (including vehicles built using the Vehicles rules) don't have STUN. DEF12 + is basically immune to 6DC as it will bounce the body damage. Secondary effects such as knockback/down may still apply.

 

However, objects that take any damage at all start breaking - measured as the loss of abilities.

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Re: One person versus a starship?

 

That's one wimpy rifle. Something that light hitting would have difficulty destroying a Ford Pinto, let alone something designed to survive re-entry...

 

If you're interested in going that far, you might let them shoot at vulnerable spots, essentially the equivalent of called shots to the head on a human. Much harder to hit, but the only real chance to do any meaningful damage to a starship with such a light weapon.

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Re: One person versus a starship?

 

When you do have significant attacks though, this can be a problem. I ran into this in a Champions game, where we were having a chase/dogfight between spaceships. We realized that if two or three people went out onto the outside of the ship and just attacked the other ship directly with their guns / energy beams / thrown stuff, then we could probably take it out in one round, and certainly faster than our ship's weapons were doing.

 

Now sure, fighting spaceships isn't too out-of-genre for Champions, but:

1) It doesn't take cosmic energy beams - somebody with a standard assault rifle and some CSLs could do it.

2) It makes the whole "capture one of the invader's ships" or "find the reactor core" plots seem a bit useless when "just shoot at it" would work quite a bit faster.

 

 

Also, I'm not sure even 6d6K would be out of scale for future handheld weaponry. You'd expect a plasma rifle to pretty much make chunky salsa out of an unarmored civilian, so we're talking at least 5d6K to do that consistently. I feel like maybe the durability scale between humans and starships is too small if you can't have a weapon that vaporizes people without being a big threat to ships.

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Re: One person versus a starship?

 

I've downscaled the damage that a lot of weapons do, since otherwise it seems like it's just a big numbers race. Futuristic weapons are cool, but I don't want people vaporizing each other in one hit, at least not while they're wearing armor.

 

One other scale issue I've seen is on page 398 of the bestiary. The "Engine of Destruction" has a planet-destroying cannon that does 10d6K. On average, that's 35 points of BODY, which a particularly tough human could endure the brunt of, to say nothing of a whole planet. The orbital cannon on 6E1p352 is another example of this. It's why I was wondering if there was something I was missing... Both of these things have MegaScale, but it appears to only apply to range. Perhaps it ought to apply to damage and BODY as well. That would keep the numbers a lot lower and still let you say that a single shot from a ship-mounted plasma beam would vaporize you instantly.

 

Edit: Per 6E1p48, a "competent" human maxes out at 20 BODY. 35 points of killing damage would put them at -15 body, which means that, *on average*, the "planet-destroying" cannon wouldn't kill Rasputin (or an Elephant) let alone a whole planet. Now, I know Rasputin's pretty tough, seriously. :)

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Re: One person versus a starship?

 

So, I'm running a space-based campaign in Hero 6, and I'm trying to build a starship (think maybe Serenity-sized) for my group to travel in. It seems to me like, according to the rules, it would be possible for one person doing 6d6 with a phasor rifle to take it down in combat (whereas honestly it ought to be able to just shrug that off). How is this sort of thing generally addressed?

 

* Is there a rule that separates massive scale combat from normal combat?

* Do you inflate the numbers on the ship to make up for this (for instance, having enough PD and ED that normal hand-held weapons can't damage it)? This option worries me, because I don't want to be rolling 20+ dice when ships shoot at each other.

* Just say "sorry, your weapons can't damage it"?

 

Peace,

Bart

 

The simplest non mechanics way is take "Real weapon" as a mandatory (no points) lim....it cannot harm a starship because no "real" weapon can...

 

But that requires conflating "Starship" with Ship, think of "Starship" as a fancy airplane and shooting it up with small arms seems totally reasonable......

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Re: One person versus a starship?

 

Starships don't necessarily have the same design limitations as airplanes, though. For instance, when you're floating out in space, you can have many inches of armor plating (and that's to say nothing of force fields, etc).

 

Now, I can see where maybe some sort of specialized shoulder-mounted weapon might be able to damage a small starship, and in that case "real weapon" would throw that off. :)

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Re: One person versus a starship?

 

Starships don't necessarily have the same design limitations as airplanes, though. For instance, when you're floating out in space, you can have many inches of armor plating (and that's to say nothing of force fields, etc).

 

Now, I can see where maybe some sort of specialized shoulder-mounted weapon might be able to damage a small starship, and in that case "real weapon" would throw that off. :)

 

Well sure but my point is this is a concept issue.....if you want to land extra plate cost payload....yadda

 

as for shoulder mounted? A "real" one would...so it does damage the starship....... ;)

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Re: One person versus a starship?

 

In my Star Hero Campaigns, I use "Size" as a -0 limitation on all weapons, to avoid having to build insanely high active point powers for ship to ship combat for the reasons of scale.

 

So a man-portable weapon can't hurt any decently sized combat vehicle (without some type of "find weakness" roll, at the very least.)

 

Weapons on starships, tanks, and the like are "Large Weapons." First off, they take a -11 OCV Penalty to shoot at anything smaller than a Hex, and are automatically AE 1 Hex. However, they deal 10x damage to anything that isn't a combat vehicle. Most tanks will have the main weapons be "large" and then a few normal sized weapons to take on any infantry the main guns can't hit. Starships sometimes have the same - most ship combat in my setting ends up being disable and board operations, as nobody likes to destroy very rare and expensive hardware.

 

This lets me have both ships and people using 2d6K weapons and keeps the "bloat" down.

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Re: One person versus a starship?

 

One of the most challenging yet rewarding aspects of designing a Star Hero campaign is balancing the weapons/armor/spaceships against one another. One thing I notice a lot of individuals do is assume that advanced weaponry will do lots more damage than modern weaponry. Thats not necessarily true (it will be to some extent, but much more than +1 or +2 DC's isn't really necessary). The main thing you want to do is make Armor appropriately effective against modern 21st century weaponry, then design your future-tech weapons around the baseline created by your armor. If typical marine Combat Armor is Defense 10, which will bounce 90% of small arms rounds fired at it, that may seem a deterrent to a 6DC Laser rifle, except for the fact that the Laser rifle is Armor Piercing. Now that Defense 10 Combat Armor is Defense 5 vs the laser.

Once you get a baseline for your personal firearms, then design starships, tanks and mecha around that baseline. Make sure they have enough armor that the typical Laser or Blaster won't harm them. This will then tell you where Starship class weaponry needs to fall to be playable. You need to decide if you want starship combat to be combat between lumbering behemoths (higher defense and lower DC), fast combat with ships blowing up after only a few hits (lower DEF vs higher DC) or somewhere in between (balanced DEF and DC characteristics...this is what I recommend)

 

As far as "Planet Buster" weaponry is concerned, I usually start them at 30 DC (10D6K) and go up from there. The "Typical" Mega Cannon (if you can call such weaponry typical) does about 20D6K damage. Significantly more than a typical Nuke. Remember that such weaponry are oftentimes Area of Effect and Megascale, so they will do that damage to wide swaths of area, taking out several KM's worth of landscape in a single blast. Thus, 40 Body damage to such an area would be sufficient to vaporize every single human within the Area of Effect. 40 Body will also be enough damage to almost (but not quite) disintigrate vehicles, houses and all but the toughest of objects in the area of effect. 70 Body (the average on 20D6K) will vaporize almost everything in its path including Main Battle Tanks, which are just about one of the toughest things we make.

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Re: One person versus a starship?

 

My recommendation is to use relative SIZE as a scaling factor to avoid problems like this. A normal human is SIZE 0, as are any weapons designed to be 'man-portable' by a single normal human. A starship is usually SIZE 10 at a minimum. "Serenity" might be 11 or so. (??)

 

So starship-scale weapons firing at human size targets get extra DC's equal to the starship's SIZE. And when fired on by human size weapons, the starship gets extra DEF equal to its SIZE. This makes starships more affordable: they can be designed with moderate attacks and defenses; starships of roughly the same SIZE will be balanced against each other, but easily an overmatch for footmen carrying small arms.

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Re: One person versus a starship?

 

One thing I notice a lot of individuals do is assume that advanced weaponry will do lots more damage than modern weaponry. Thats not necessarily true (it will be to some extent, but much more than +1 or +2 DC's isn't really necessary).
Well, there is the "splat" factor, when considering the effect on an unarmored target. Of course, HERO in general is a bit cinematic in that regard - an average person can survive a head shot with a pistol, often unaided.

But still, you probably would expect something like a railgun or plasma bomb to flat-out kill an unarmored or lightly armored target, which does imply a decent amount of KA (or for the "average" BODY to be lower).

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